10 things I miss about the UK (and what the rest of the family think)
Hey y’all. We’ve been away from the UK for 8 months now, and we’re in Bali for another 4 months. There are SO MANY THINGS I could list that I’m happy to get away from in the UK (maybe that’s another blog post?) but living in another country certainly gives one an appreciation of home comforts.
If I’d seen this list eight months ago I’d have laughed at most of the items on here, but that was before I’d tried to come up a nutritious schedule of meals for three kids without an oven (and with one working gas ring and one saucepan that I’m pretty sure is just an unfolded Diet Coke can. Sort your cookware out, Bali). It’s also before I discovered that raisins here are worth their weight in pure gold- who’d have thought these little shrivelly sugar-bombs would be so valuable?!
There’s also, apparently, so much ‘slumming it’ I can do. I really love feeling freed up to wear far less makeup than I did back home, but it’s also nice to use hair straighteners and eyeliner and feel a bit ‘done’ on occasion. And let’s not talk about wax strips, shall we.
Right, so the top 10 things that I am missing from the UK, in no particular order, are:
Ovens. Because pasta and vegetables, and pasta, and vegetables, gets a bit old.
Reasonably priced nuts and raisins. £5 for 100g of raisins? Did you grow them yourself and sing to each grape as it bathed in the sun?
Tap water. We are still extremely fortunate to be able to walk just 100m down the road to get our 19 litre bottles every couple of days, when there are kids Eira’s age in Africa doing four-hour trips every day in the blistering sun. We’re spoilt; I miss being able to turn on a tap and drink from it.
Bugs that stay outside. With three kids I’m used to spontaneous middle of the night visits, but I prefer them to be not on my face and not with a shell and six legs. The other night Patrick slapped what he thought was a mosquito crawling across his chest and the thing (not a mozzie, apparently) paused for a second and then scuttled under the covers. It’s not the one.
Falafel. My love. I found a falafel stall in Chiang Mai and gorged, and my friend Nell gave me one of her precious falafel mix boxes that her husband brings her over from business trips to the UK, which I ate in one sitting and regretted. I just want regular falafel in my life ok.
My hair straighteners. To clarify I’ve never straightened my hair in my life, I use them to curl. I miss feeling a bit glam; I can count the number of times I’ve blow-dried my hair on this trip on one hand. I have a feeling I’m gonna turn out like a winter Barbie when we hit up London in September, when I’m surrounded by mascara and lotions and several shoe options. (Read about Mum’s accidentally-blue hair disaster here and our hilarious Bali hair salon outing here).
Friends and family. Most of our friends and family have been amazing at keeping in touch, and it’s been so, so (SO) lovely to feel the love we share with people from across continents. We’ll be so happy to reconnect with our loved ones when we’re back in the UK- in the meantime WhatsApp is working pretty well!
Access to lots of kids’ books (library). Bali doesn’t have libraries, or an abundance of places to buy decent kids’ books. A lovely lady has set up a fortnightly book swap which is an amazing idea, and the kids have loved going to get fresh books and play with other kids. The thought of being able to go to a spacious, calm library full of books and being able to sit and read to the kids (for free!) is absolute luxury and something I’m really looking forward to doing with the kids.
Lots of indoor activities. Bali is alll about the sunshine, which is lush- it’s one of the reasons we came here (to see the other reasons read this). However, 30-odd degree heat isn’t great for kids to be out in; when it’s less than optimum weather in the UK we have the option of soft plays, libraries, swimming pools, garden centres, museums… the list goes on. When we left we’d done them to death, but having a break means they will be a novelty and something to look forward to when we go back.
Wax strips. ‘Nuff said.
So that’s my list of most-missed things about the UK! I could live without most of them, but it will be really lovely to have home comforts in September when we head to London for the next part of our adventure.
I also asked Patrick, Mum and the kids what they miss about the UK and here’s what they said:
Patrick: “Friends and family, racing, fast Wifi, Indian food and being able to watch Live sports on TV.”
Mum: “Friends and family, work and having the convenience of a car to get around”
Eira: “My boyfriend” (We met up with Esmae’s boyfriend in Thailand and will soon be seeing them for a whole month here in Bali!)
Elfie: “Princesses”. Don’t we all.
What do you miss most when you travel? Is it people, an item, your home? Let us know in the comments!